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  • Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, is imploring Jamaicans to take action to rid their surroundings of breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus.
  • “Too often, unfortunately, we assist in providing very fertile breeding ground for this mosquito. This means that we all have to take action,” he said.
  • “Anything that creates the environment for the breeding of mosquitoes represents a threat and therefore, we should see it as our duty and in our own interest to take the necessary steps,” he added.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, is imploring Jamaicans to take action to rid their surroundings of breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus.

“Too often, unfortunately, we assist in providing very fertile breeding ground for this mosquito. This means that we all have to take action,” he said.

“Anything that creates the environment for the breeding of mosquitoes represents a threat and therefore, we should see it as our duty and in our own interest to take the necessary steps,” he added.

Dr. Tufton was addressing a press conference at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Friday (March 19), where he announced that three new cases of the Zika virus have been detected in Jamaica.

The areas are Greater Portmore and Christian Meadows in St. Catherine, and Lyssons in St. Thomas.

Two of the new Zika cases were confirmed by tests carried out at the recently upgraded University Hospital of the West Indies’ (UHWI) Virology Lab. The other was from a sample that was sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency in Trinidad and Tobago.

The number of confirmed cases of Zika in Jamaica now stands at four.

The Health Ministry is undertaking vector control and fever surveillance activities in the communities and will continue to educate Jamaicans about Zika, including the need to eliminate breeding sites.

“Our teams will continue to work in the field going around communities to guide householders in terms of identifying and destroying mosquito breeding sites and keeping their surroundings clean,” Dr. Tufton said.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is found in and around areas where people live, work and play.

Persons displaying symptoms such as fever, rash, eye redness, joint and muscle pain are advised to see a doctor.

Pregnant women are being urged to be particularly vigilant in protecting themselves from mosquito bites as Zika has been associated with microcephaly, which is a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development in infants.

Protective measures include using insect repellent containing DEET, sleeping under a mosquito net, putting mesh on windows and doors and wearing long sleeved clothing where possible.

Jamaica is among several countries in Latin American and the Caribbean that have confirmed Zika cases.